Eagles backups prep for preseason finale

Ed Benkin
August 27, 2019 - 2:57 pm

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Doug Pederson knows the feeling.

Pederson spent 14 seasons in the NFL with seven different teams. In 1995, Pederson was a backup in Miami and expected to start the season with the Dolphins. However, Pederson was cut during the preseason and did not get the chance to spend another year backing up Dan Marino.

But while one door closed, another opened.   

"You're a little disappointed and a little bitter and a little upset about it," said Pederson. "It was actually a blessing in disguise because I later signed with Green Bay that year and spent eight years in Green Bay. This is not the end of the road for these players."

The end will come for nearly half of the Eagles' roster at the end of the week. 

It will be cutdown time as teams are forced to trim their roster to 53 players. Some may have the opportunity to return to the practice squad for the Eagles, while others will be out looking for work. All of the players fighting for jobs will get their chance to perform on Thursday when the Eagles close out the preseason against the Jets. 

All of the Eagles top players will be resting and Pederson reminded the rest of the roster that they will be not only auditioning for the Eagles, but for the entire NFL as he did 24 years ago.

"I tell them all the time that they're obviously competing for our team," Pederson said. "There's 31 other teams that are looking at our roster to see who gets released and who stays and all of that. Your dream is never over as it was in my case in '95, where I went to Green Bay and had a chance to play on two Super Bowl teams." 

One player who doesn't have to worry about a roster spot is Josh McCown. 

The veteran was signed less than two weeks ago and made a strong impression in last week's preseason game against the Ravens. McCown will likely join Carson Wentz on the bench this week, which means Cody Kessler and Clayton Thorson will get all of the snaps on Thursday night.

"You'd love to see more," said Pederson. "We're down to the wire right here and evaluating every position, so it's hard. There's a fine line there, but obviously, what he did last week was good and probably good enough."
 
As the backups prepare for one last audition, some of the Eagles top players are still recovering from injuries or off-season surgeries. 

Fletcher Cox, Nigel Bradham, Brandon Brooks and Ronald Darby are among the players who are planning to be ready for Week One. 

Pederson says he and his staff are preparing to make the necessary adjustments if the walking wounded aren't ready to go at full strength on Sept. 8

"That's something that we've discussed," Pederson said. "Those are things you plan for. You've got to plan for all of that. We had great experience at that last year with the amount of injuries. Some of these guys have been practicing with us and have been looking good in practice. Some of them even got in the game last week. It's reasonable that everybody will be ready next week."